‘Death of a Salesman’

It’s often been said that “there’s a first time for everything,” and although this Pulitzer prize-winning drama made its Broadway premiere back in 1949, this is the very firsttime this American masterpiece has found its way onto the Long Beach Playhouse’s Mainstage.Impeccably cast from Karl Schott as Willie Loman and Harriet Whitmyer as Linda Loman, down to the minor character roles, LBP’s emotional and heart-wrenching revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman clearly resonates with the identifiable attitudes of mid-century America while also planting its acerbic footprints firmly inthe muddied trenches of today’s struggling world of everyday survival.With our present day world teetering on the edge of rapidly changing technology and the innate superpowers of its evolution, Willie’s obsolescence is easily relatable to the countless middle-class Americans who are faced with coming to grips with similar setbacks and circumstances.Willy is a delusional and tormented 63-year-old traveling salesman who has lost the ability to deal with reality or face his shattered dreams, and as he spirals downward into a state of oblivion, his fragility and despair is overwhelmingly ubiquitous. “I’m fat,” He surmises causing a moment of uncomfortable snickering, and “I’m very foolish to look at…” Schott is so completely immersed in his self-loathing character that as he peels away the layers unleashing the complexities of Willy and his emotional state of mind, he commands the utmost respect.Schott has some pretty big shoes to fill – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, and Fredric Marsh all portrayed Willy, but as a performance that will be long remembered, Schott is a perfect fit as Willie Loman. Whitmyer is faultless as Willy’s long suffering and resilient wife, Linda.She’s one of the people who gives without ever expecting anything in return. Linda’s loyalty, devotion, and commitment to her lifelong partner is unbreakable as is Whitmyer’s stunning performance. Equally outstanding are performances by the entire ensemble and John Conway as Biff and Zachary Salene as Happy are highly credible as the prodigal adult sons with problems of their own and complicated relationships with their parents.Sitting next to me was Dr. Allen Zeltzer, a 96-year-old retired Cal State Fullerton theater professor who has this to say, “I’ve never seen ‘it’ (Death of a Salesman) better than this; every one of those characters is so woven into the play…the actors resonate the emotion that is absolutely necessary.”He went on to say, “Powerful, great play… still is.” A few five star mentions must also go to: Tyler Gray as Bernard, Robyn Hastings as The Woman, Gary Douglas as Charley, Skip Blas as Ben, and Nick Warnock as Howard.A deliberate and explosive exploration of “The American Dream,” Miller’s tragic Death of a Salesman captures the naked and painful truth as it is reclaimed for a new generation of theatergoers, and while it oozes with harsh realities, LBP’s Death of a Salesman is also sensitive and hauntingly poetic and is clearly a marvelously detailed and complex tapestry of theatrical art.Director: Carl DaSilva; Set Design: Andrew Vonderschmitt; Light Design: Sean Gray. Long Beach Playhouse 5021 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804. Phone 562 494.1014 www.lbplayhouse.org. "Death of a Salesman" runs through June 20.

Dani de Waal is that girl in ‘Once’ at Segerstrom Center

Once in a while a musical comes along that’s quirky and different and so delightful that it takes audiences by storm and has critics’ swooning. In 2013, “Once” did just that, winning 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Now it’s on the road and will be at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, August 19 – 31.“Once” is the charming chronicle of a Dublin street musician, simply know as ‘Guy’ and a lovely Czech immigrant, call her ‘Girl’ who fancies his alluring love songs and convinces him not to give up on his dreams. The Girl, “Once” star Dani de Waal says “naturally chemistry evolves between the pair but it’s not your typical fairytale ending kind of love story. It’s more of a modern day love story because life is complicated – and it appeals to people because in life, love is complicated.”“Once” isn’t mainstream Broadway either, with performers playing the part of musicians. Instead they are the music makers. Director John Tiffany fell in love with the songs when he first heard the movie’s soundtrack, saying “it wasn’t just the music itself but the fact that it’s a story about creating music, a story about the healing power of music.” I thought “We’re going to be able to see actors create that music in front of us. “De Waal explains, “There is no orchestra and the actors are musicians. The music is the driving force of the show – its heart and soul.” She continues, “The music adds a new dynamic. We connect through music while telling a beautiful story. We, actors, are onstage for the entire journey."Unlike large, lavish productions, “Once” is not staged with elaborate scenery. Instead its set is an unpretentious Irish pub where de Waal says “it’s just us playing and telling the tale through simple melody and harmony, our instrumentation and movement.”Irishman Enda Walsh calls his script “a love letter to Dublin.” De Waal concurs, saying “we create a feeling of being in a Pub, an intimate setting to draw in the audience – we bring Ireland to the stage through audience interaction.”Speaking of audience interaction, one of the most intriguing things about “Once” is that spectators are invited to step up on the stage and buy a brew or two in the pre-show jam session that begins 15 minutes before advertised start time. The on-stage bar is also open during intermission. Audience members who participate are asked not to directly interact or touch the cast while sipping cocktails. It’s difficult to imagine the logistics of fans climbing on stage in a large house like the Segerstrom Center but de Waal assured me that it will happen, saying “we have played small and large venues and the Pub is always there. Audiences can actually buy a drink while we use the middle of the stage, playing a combination of about five songs that we have practiced together. It’s an energizing experience for audience and cast alike.”Another interesting aspect of “Once” is that the leads are known only as “Girl” and “Guy.” De Waal says that “it isn’t difficult to relate to characters that have no name, in fact, it adds to the creative flair of the show. Some of the other characters have names or titles such as the Banker but Guy and Girl they’re universal and easily relatable because they can be anyone.”De Waal describes her character “Girl” as the driving force of the story, the one who makes things happen, saying “without her ‘Guy’ would just leave the stage and that’s the end of the story. Walsh’s stage craft is a reflection of this. He started the story by bringing two people together and getting them to talk to one another. He says, “As soon as the "Girl" started talking, I thought, that’s the swagger of it. She became the style of it and the force of the piece and the central storyteller.”De Waal’s “Girl” is delightful. “She’s funny with a dry sense of humor,” de Waal says. “I get to explore a wide spectrum of her personality. I’m a bit like her because I have her positive outlook in life. And like her I believe in going for your dreams and goals.”The music, a blend of folk/rock with acoustics, is essential to “Once” yet as de Waal says, “It's really a play with music because the story is the main thing.” De Waal landed the role of “Girl” based on her piano playing ability and acting skill. The entire cast of actors was selected because of their musicality. Musical movements are loosely based around the storyline, giving the troupe artistic license to move the narrative along.De Waal says “it was challenging to play the piano while remaining in character because the story is so important, but now the piano is a huge part of the role and comes naturally. I’d never been in a band and in this show being part of a musical group is just magic. We don’t think about what we’re doing, we just feel the music together, we breathe it. As for movement, it’s not dance steps; it's an extension of what the characters are feeling.”“Once” is a haunting tale about following your dreams, without fear and the power of music to sway our worlds. De Waal’s favorite number is “When’s Your Mind’s Made Up.” Make up your mind to see “Once,” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, August 19 – 31, in Segerstrom Hall. For tickets and information: In person, The Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626; Online at SCFTA.org; or by phone at 714-556-2787. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Thrilling in every way ‘The Bodyguard’ comes to the Segerstrom

By Lynda LacayoA new take on a familiar story, the “Bodyguard” will appeal to both fans and people new to musical theater. The romantic thriller, based on the 1992 film of the same name is as much a suspense play as a clever jukebox musical that pays tribute to the songbook of the late celebrity. Featuring a stalker, a superstar, and a showcase of Whitney Houston songs, Rachel Marron who plays the superstar is surrounded by an entourage, which includes her publicist, Sy Spector, played by Jonathan Hadley. Hadley, who describes himself as an actor who sings, says the role appealed to him both because he is a fan of Deborah Cox and because he was a natural Sy Spector. Hadley spent seven years touring as Bob Crewe, a music producer in “Jersey Boys,” so he’s no stranger to playing the man behind the celebrity. He says of the similarity of his acting roles in both musicals, “I have some great scenes with fun lines and it’s fine with me that someone else does all the singing while I get to make things pop for the star personalities. I suppose it’s odd that both these characters are similar but I enjoy playing quick thinkers who make things happen.”“The Bodyguard” is billed as romantic suspense and as Hadley says, “there aren’t a lot of musicals that can be put into the thriller genre. Perhaps, ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ because of the chase scene, but this show is definitely a thriller. There are screams that come from the storyline and the audience reacts with screams of their own. Yeah, it’s cool.”A jukebox musical is a show that takes popular music from a catalogue and develops a storyline around the music. “The Bodyguard” fits neatly into that category but it is also as Hadley points out, “a tribute to the late Whitney Houston and her song book and is based on her Oscar nominated movie, which Alexander Dinelaris adapted for the stage. The script has been streamlined somewhat but it’s still very much the story that fans of the film will remember, only with more Houston songs. Whitney sings four or five songs in the movie and onstage Deborah Cox sings 13 songs nightly. It’s a remarkable feat and I am in awe of her. It’s just amazing to hear her sing all this material.”Jukebox or otherwise, this is a musical and while Cox does most of the singing, others in the cast belt out a song or two as well. Hadley says, “Frank Farmer, the leading man and love interest, kind of sings, I won’t give it away but there’s a twist in the way he sings. The bulk of the singing is all Cox but the character of her sister Nicki, played by Jasmin Richardson, does takes on three songs and a duet with Cox. The voices of these two women are extraordinary. Nicki does have a few songs and the rest of us sing in the background but oh wow, it’s all Deborah.”A few things have been done to make the musical different from the movie. British director Thea Sharrock has enhanced various themes for the stage. She says, “the most important thing was to get the arc of the relationship and interweave it with the stalker, because without him we wouldn’t need Frank, the bodyguard.”Hadley is cautious about sharing the plot but says, “The producers have tweaked the musical in small ways to make it different from the film. For example, they have made Rachel’s sister a larger presence and frankly a more sympathetic character. It is more streamlined and a couple of characters have been combined in the storyline.” He continues, “Of course, they couldn’t duplicate on stage all the physical aspects of the movie. But, basically the main storyline remains and that’s what fans of the movie will remember and enjoy.Hadley enjoys playing Sy Spector in “The Bodyguard.” He said a friend described Sy as endearingly annoying and he likes that description. When asked who his favorite character was in the show, he quickly replied, “Oh, Sy Spector, of course. He has some great lines and scenes. There’s a line that pops into my head but again, I don’t want to give away too much. Here’s a hint, Sy gets the dirty jokes and they’re not too raunchy because this is a family show. I consider Sy a likable character, although I’m not sure how audiences feel, that’s where the endearingly annoying part comes in and I do get all the laughs.”In “The Bodyguard,” there are some surprises for spectators but according to Hadley the ultimate highlight comes at the end of the show where they, “Tell audiences not to leave after Curtain Call because there’s a fantastic finale that’s really fun. There has been standing ovations after every performance because there is just so much about this show that audiences respond to: Deborah Cox’s performance, the nostalgia of Whitney Houston’s music and again, that amazing finale which brings everyone to their feet.” “The Bodyguard” staring Deborah Cox is playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts from May 30 to June 11. For more information, call the Segerstrom at 714-556-2782 or visit sfta.org.

National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China returns to Segerstrom Center

The National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China have entertained audiences worldwide for more than 60 years with astonishing feats of acrobatic agility and stunning display of martial arts, and the company returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts with a brand new production on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.This elite group of acrobats continues a remarkable 2,000-year-old tradition of mastering precision, balance, grace, strength and artistry that result in dazzling and high adrenaline performances that also feature beautiful costumes, thrilling choreography and both traditional and modern music.Tickets to The National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China start at $19. Single tickets will be available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling 714-556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at 714-755-0236. The TTY number is 714-556-2746.Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds Kia, Official Automotive Partner of the Center and United Airlines, Official Airline of the Center.The National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1951 and has been one of the most acclaimed acrobatic troupes in China. For several generations, the company has developed many unique acrobatic acts such as “Global Motorcycling,” “Kicking Bowls to Heads on High Unicycles,”“Russian Bars in Chinese Traditional Style,” “Chinese Poles In Shaolin Style,” “Diving Through Moving Hoops,” “Aerial Bungee Tumblings” and “Aerial Tissue Flowers.” These and many other acts have been enjoyed and praised by Chinese and foreign audiences for decades.

Hot L Baltimore

A portrait of casted out souls in a shabby hotel with a demolition date closing in may be as tough to watch as a news clip of America’s increasing number of homeless burrowing down on for the night, but at the same time – impossible to ignore. Long Beach Playhouse brings Lanford Wilson’s comedy/drama Hot L Baltimore to its main stage, and underthe fine direction of Mitchell Nunn, each character takes on a particular persona thatis somehow relatable to each other, and to the audience.Although the story takes place within the lobby of the ill-fated and formerly regal hotel, the imagined façade of the dilapidated building unabashedly displays its plight with a missing “e” in the hotel’s once prominent signage. Inside, of course, there is no hot water, a broken elevator, a stuck window, and an impending feeling of doom that none of the residents has most likely penned on their wish lists.There is a distinctive realization that each character is constantly waiting or searching for something – something other than the quandary in which they find themselves. The characters themselves are as diverse as any tension-filled group of people stuck in the present, but unquestionably, they are a family – a family of lost souls with something in common – an idea that “they’re all in this together” and that they all share the same anger about what life has dealt them and what the future holds without the so-called sanctity of what they have come to know as “home.”Hot L Baltimore is about emotion, feelings, strength of character, humanity and it was never really meant to be about plot. The search for happiness, peace, contentment may never be answered, and the eclectic bunch of tacky characters bicker and squabble with each other oddly enough like a gathering of overstuffed distant relatives on Thanksgiving Day or on the flipside of a Norman Rockwell painting.As they drift in and out of the hotel’s lobby, the hilarious barbs and feisty conflicts are a monumental part of the play.Gabrielle Boyd’s undeniably bouncy movements as the teenaged “Girl” in tight-fitting shorts match her unwavering commitment to her vigorous and up-tempo dialogue, but its Jennifer Jonassen’s fabulous portrayal of the practical and highly experienced prostitute, April – a gal who was once the living quintessence of knowing what it was to live in a classy hotel and understands the irony of her plight – who inherently gets the biggest laughs.Richard Golfin III as Bill is as realistic as it gets. Special mention to: Jonah Ethan Snyder as Paul, Roxanne Martinez as Millie, Melina Parker as Mrs. Belloti, Doug Seagraves as Mr. Morse, Elspeth Carden as Jackie, Zachary C. Sanchez as Jamie, Joe Pridemore as Katz, Kerry Malmgren as Suzy, Rob Ramon Flores as Suzy’s John, Cab Driver, and Delivery Boy, and Robyn Hastings as Mrs. Oxenham.The entire ensemble is brimming with energy, life and vitality, and each actor brings his or her game to LBP’s Hot L Baltimore montage. Director: Mitchell Nunn; Set Design: Greg Fritsche; Light Design: Daniel Driskill; Sound Design Sean Gray and Jessica Westerfield; Costume Design: Donna Fritsche. Long Beach Playhouse 5021 E. Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804. Phone 562 494-1014 option 1. www.lbplayhouse.org. The stage play runs through Oct. 24.

Segerstrom Center welcomes Grammy Award–winning singer Kurt Elling in Elling Swings Sinatra

One remarkable vocalist honors another when Grammy Award winner Kurt Elling pays homage to Frank Sinatra in Elling Swings Sinatra Feb. 27 & 28 in Samueli Theater. During four performances, Elling celebrates Sinatra’s 100th birthday (December 12, 2015), lending his own voice and reinterpreting the ‘Chairman of the Board’s’ vast repertoire of classic hits, such as “Come Fly With Me,” “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady is a Tramp” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” The evening is accented with richly told stories of a fascinating era as can be provided only by one of the foremost talents of our time, Kurt Elling.The New York Times declared, “Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time.” The Washington Post added, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.”Tickets for Elling Swings Sinatra start at $69 and are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling 714-556-2787. The TTY number is 714-556-2746.Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds Kia, Official Automotive Partner of the Center and United Airlines, Official Airline of the Center. KJAZZ is the Media Partner of the Jazz Series.Grammy winner Kurt Ellinghas won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last 13 years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling’s nine albums has been nominated for a Grammy.His rich baritone spans four octaves andhis own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. The late poet and Bollingen Prize winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, “In Kurt Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.”Elling was the artist-in-residence for the Singapore and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration’s first state dinner featured Elling in a command performance.

Maple and Vine

The Chance Theater is set to present the fourth show of its 16th Anniversary Season – the clever and sharply drawn fantasy, Maple and Vine. Written by Jordan Harrison, with direction by Mark Ramont. Maple and Vine will preview from Sept. 19 through 25, regular performances will begin Sept. 26 and continue through Oct. 19 at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center.Maple and Vine follows the story of Katha and her husband Ryu (a young Asian doctor), who have become allergic to their 21st-century lives. After they meet a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they forsake cell phones and sushi for cigarettes and Tupperware parties. In this compulsively authentic Eisenhower America, Katha and Ryu are surprised by what their new neighbors—and they themselves—are willing to sacrifice for happiness.“It seems to me that technology has taken over our lives in ways that leave us wanting a quieter, calmer time, where things are more black and white,” said director Mark Ramont. “Where there is time to pursue the simple things in life, and where we aren’t constantly bombarded with information, noise, shiny objects, and strident, often apocalypticopinions about the world we live in. It’s crazy out there, so who doesn’t long to escape?”There’s another universal question that this show asks its characters and its audience – “What does it take to be happy?” Ramont asks. “This is a central question for almost anyone I know, and more and more it seems like people are constructing their own happiness, often at the cost of Truth. What happens to truth when you construct your own happiness and shut out anything that challenges it? Is it possible to construct your own happiness? If so, what is the cost?”Playwright Jordan Harrison will be getting double attention from Southern California theaters this September and October. While Maple and Vine is making its Greater Los Angeles Area premiere at the Chance, Mark Taper Forum will be producing another one of his plays, Marjorie Prime, at the same time. Jordan Harrison is a rising talent in the American theater, and we're thrilled to be one of the theaters producing his work.Harrison’s playMaple and Vineran Off-Broadway at New York's Playwrights Horizons and at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater after premiering in the 2011 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Mr. Harrison’s other plays includeDoris to Darlene(Playwrights Horizons),Amazons and their Men (Clubbed Thumb),Act a Lady(2006 Humana Festival),Finn in the Underworld(Berkeley Repertory Theatre),Futura (Portland Center Stage, Theater @ Boston Court),Kid-Simple(2004 Humana Festival, SPF),The Museum Play (Washington Ensemble Theatre),Standing on Ceremony(Minetta Lane Theatre), andFit for Feet(2003 Humana Festival).

The Grinch Steals Christmas at the Segerstrom Center

It’s the happiest time of year for folks young and old and what could be better than to kick off the season with a classic tale of Christmas. The heartwarming story “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Musical” is playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Dec. 10-14.From book to animated film to Broadway, there’s no better way to get in the holiday groove then with a little Christmas enchantment. Dr. Seuss’ penned “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 1957. It became one of the top 100 books recommended by teachers, because it depicts the importance of the real meaning of Christmas. In 1966 it jumped from popular book to an animated Television show that still ranks high in viewer ratings during the holidays. Now, the magic of Broadway brings the musical story to life on the Segerstrom stage. The 2014 edition features all the iconic characters, the mean, green Grinch, the whimsical Who’s of Whoville and naturally Max, the dog as narrator.Bob Lauder, a native Californian who hails from Anaheim and currently resides in Nevada, landed the role of Max, the Grinch’s dog, thanks to modern technology. The touring company was using Facebook to find an actor for the Old Max role. When a friend mentioned this to Lauder, he said “I can sing Old Max’s song in the original key.” “Prove it!” he was told. He did – on You Tube – and got the job.“The stage version follows Seuss’ book very closely because,” Lauder admits “much of the creation of Whoville, the Who’s, and the Grinch are lifted from the animated TV special, which was created to mirror Seuss’ timeless tale.” Lauder as Old Max even sings “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch“ in the cartoon’s key, something last done in 1966, perhaps because the right baritone was needed. Lauder is an Opera singer, yet he’s is having a ball wagging his five foot tail (and yes, occasionally smacking a Who or two) as he narrates “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”Lauder describes the stage production of the Grinch as “really harmonious with the illustrated book,” saying “the sets look like Whoville. As for the Who folk, make-up, hair, even the pods under their costumes create an illusion of who-ism. People see the sets and oh and ah because they're so similar to the book.”There are new songs in this production, along with classic’s and some of the plot from the movie but what is important is the message remains the same. As Lauder says “the stories’ moral is that Christmas isn’t really about presents and food, it’s about the spirit of the season.” He continues Little Who Cindy Lou summarizes it best, telling the Grinch when he returns all the stuff he stole, “That’s really very nice but all that’s missing from Christmas is you.”The Grinch appeals to all ages, according to Lauder. He says “Kids really get the Grinch because he’s a villain but redeemable. Adults relate to the message that Christmas is about love and even the meanest, tiniest heart can be touched during the holidays. Folks tall and small are uplifted by the show because it’s filled with fun and laughter.”Despite wearing a furry costume with a marabou tail, playing a dog works because “Old Max has human characteristics. He’s older, wiser and is moving on, suitcase in hand, when the music reminds him of the night the Grinch used him to steal Christmas,” says Lauder of his character. “Old Max, as narrator, shares his memories in rhyme and controls the story. Getting to tell the story from the beginning is one of the best things about playing him. Although at the end the Who’s finish the tale.”The Grinch has become a holiday staple, along with Lauder who has performed as Old Max in 300+ performances in the last five years. With all those performances under his belt, make that collar, he’ll tell you that the best thing about the production is the company, saying “we have the feeling of being a family. This comes from the top on down. The close connection of crew and cast is so important in this kind of show. We’re established cherished traditions. Before each performance the Who characters gather together in a ‘Who-ddle (huddle) to set the mood of the musical.”Speaking of mood, stagecraft takes audiences from sunny Orange County to wintry Whoville. Snow is projected from fog machines to create a cold and chilly climate. Audiences can expect a few other frosty surprises as well.The Who’s of Whoville are just so darn nice. Lauder agrees that their view of Christmas is idealistic saying, “that’s something we need to see. People forget the real meaning of Christmas, possibly because we are overwhelmed by commercialism. It’s too easy to get into greed and forget what we are really celebrating – love and being together,” he adds, “Cindy Lou personifies the message by singing ‘You and I belong heart to heart together on Christmas Day’ as the Grinch returns all the holiday trimmings.”“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Musical” is playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall Dec. 10 -14. And now that your heart, like the Grinch’s has grown from ‘two sizes too small’ to brimming with love for all, check out more holiday cheer decking the halls of the Segerstrom Center this season. Dec. 6, singer/songwriter Judy Collins will toast the season with “Holidays and Hits.” Multi-platinum Irish singing sensation, Celtic Woman will present “Home for the Holidays” on Dec. 15. “Fiesta Navidad” with Mariachi Los Camperos will have holiday revelers dancing in the aisles on Dec. 23. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. For tickets and information on all Holiday shows: in person at The Box Office (address above); Online, SCFTA.org; by phone 714-556-2787.

Richard James Men’s Spring 2018

A dose of American Fifties optimism — and Ellsworth Kelly paintings — made this collection buzz with life and color just as the company turns the page under its new owner, Charles S. Cohen, the real estate and film entrepreneur.Toby Lamb, design and brand director, said he was thinking of Kelly’s contributions to the Whitney Museum’s Young America exhibition in 1957, and the freshness and optimism they telegraphed at the time.The resultwas a collection filled with ice cream sundae colors, lots of texture and abstract prints inspired by rocket ships and bits of machinery.

Norma Kamali Resort 2018

“I’m so over photo shoots with lightning and a crew and I just want it to be free and flow and not be constrained in a box. So I woke up one morning and I said I am going to photograph the collection myself with an iPhone. You design a collection and it’s seen through the eyes of a photographer in a way,” said Norma Kamali at her resort preview. Kamali knows a thing or two about disruption and pioneering ideas — she was one of the first designers to tackle online sales, and one of the first to get on the ath-leisure boat. “You have, have to be creative,” she emphasized.Her collection for resort reflects all the principles by whichKamali lives. She created the multifunctional wardrobe that could be layered in endless ways, not wrinkle and done affordably and each season she updates it — this time around, she offered endless options in velvet. The biggest hit: a puffer jacket style. Who knew velvet could have such street appeal? The camouflage sleeping bag coats — another Kamali signature style — also had that cool downtown edge. “What’s great about these is that you can throw them over a cocktail dress and look great,” she said.“This is our biggest collection, resort — we have a lot of swim and a lot of outerwear,” she said. From the look of the racks, Kamali has it pretty under control — her online stores covered with the more approachable pieces, her loyal following covered with the more fashion-forward items and her Asian base with lots of pink. “The demand for pink from China is high, so pink we did,” she said.